New industry partnership explores Australia’s manufacturing potential

From left: Prof. Gangadhara Prusty, director at Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites, UNSW; Matthew Kelly, head of manufacturing and wholesale at St.George Bank; Michael Sharpe, state director at Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) and Patrick Mooney, director, strategic partnerships at division of enterprise, UNSW.

A new strategic partnership between St.George Banking Group, UNSW Sydney and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) was announced today to advance Australian research and accelerate the introduction and commercialisation of new manufacturing technologies.

The unique partnership will help Australia unlock its competitive edge in manufacturing by bringing together three different streams of the Australian economy – research, industry and banking.

Recent job figures illustrate the re-emergence of the manufacturing sector, with domestic employment increasing 6.1 per cent over the past five years. In Australia, the sector employs approximately 978,000 people (August 2018 ABS trend data), which is approximately 7.7 per cent of the total workforce.

Michael Sharpe, state director of AMGC, believes that every Australian manufacturer can transition to the digital age in order to build their business and compete globally.

“To improve our country’s innovation and competitiveness, manufacturers need to become highly-integrated, collaborative and export-focused so we can provide high-value, customised solutions to global supply chains,” Sharpe said.

“This complementary partnership will forge the industry ahead by helping manufacturers to think more laterally about how they can use the latest technology to scale their businesses and seek new opportunities both onshore and overseas,” he added.

Matthew Kelly, head of manufacturing and wholesale at St George, said: “Manufacturing is an export-focused industry, and digitisation, data, automation and new materials are driving the reemergence of manufacturing in Australia. Our customers are forward-thinking and want to tap into research to differentiate their businesses and make their processes more efficient, such as using real-time data to drive better decision making. We have a very clear understanding of Australia’s potential in this sector which is why St.George is backing manufacturers for the long-term through this partnership and other initiatives.”

Professor Gangadhara Prusty, director of UNSW-based ARC Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC), said the collaboration will give potential partners access to the nation’s most advanced manufacturing facilities, and where appropriate, secure funding through AMGC or other government funding sources.

“This partnership will enable St.George customers and AMGC members to leverage technologies developed at UNSW and take advantage of the University’s skills and expertise in the engineering field,” said Professor Prusty. “Using advanced manufacturing automation and innovative material solutions, we can assist potential partners in solving their real world engineering challenges. We are excited to collaborate with new industry partners to ensure Australian manufacturing remains competitive in the global market.”

St.George manufacturing customer, Clem Tacca of Tacca Industries in New South Wales will be one of the first customers to benefit from the new collaboration.

“St.George has been backing us for years so we’re thrilled to be connected to UNSW and the AMGC to see how we can benefit from cutting-edge research and drive even greater efficiencies and scalability across our family’s business,” Tacca said.